DISCUSSION TECHNIQUES Introducing a discussion (a meeting) An introduction to a discussion should take only a minute or two and should cover the following points: Greeting “Good morning. Thank you all for coming. It‟s about time we got started.” “Good morning. Thank you all for coming. Let‟s get started.” “Good morning. Thank you all for coming. Shall we make a start?” “Good morning. Thank you all for coming. Let‟s get down to business.” General statement of the subject “We‟re here today to talk about ___________.” “As you‟re aware, I‟ve arranged this meeting to talk about _____________ “ Introduction of the participants “At our meeting today we have Mike Smith, who is a government official. Also, we have ____________ .” or “Why don‟t you introduce yourselves?” Statement of the specific purpose or goal of the discussion purpose agree “The goal of this discussion is to decide _____________ .” main objective solve Opening the subject for discussion “Mary, would you like to begin?” “Would you like to open the discussion, Mary?” “Perhaps, you‟d like to get the ball rolling, Mary.” “Mary, would you like to kick off?” “What are your feelings on this, Mary?” “What are your views on this, Mary?” or “Who would like to begin?” “What;‟s the general feeling on this?” Closing a discussion (a meeting) At the end of a discussion the group leader is in charge of closing the meeting. This closing should briefly cover the following points. A statement that the meeting time is over “I‟m afraid we‟ll have to end here. Unfortunately, we‟ve run out of time.” “Excuse me, it looks like our time is up.” “I‟m afraid that our time has run out.” A final summary of the discussion What conclusions were reached: “To summarize, we agreed / decided that _____________ “ “In conclusion, ___________________ “ or What was accomplished if no conclusions were reached: “Well, we weren‟t able to come to an agreement, but I think that we accomplished a lot today.” “We haven‟t made a final decision yet, but we‟ve made a lot of progress in exploring the issue.” A plan for a future meeting if the problem is not solved “We can discuss this further at our next meeting.” “Could we have a meeting soon to continue discussion of this subject?” A statement to thank the members for their participation in the discussion “Thank you all for coming.” “I‟d like to thank you all for cooperation.” Bringing in others What do you think about this, Mary? The way I see it … What are our views on this, Mary? It‟s clear to me that … What would you advise, Mary? Personally, I think … What do you suggest, Mary? It looks to me as if … What‟s your opinion, Mary? Obviously … Mary, do you have anything to add? What are your feelings on this, Mary? What‟s the general feeling on this? Interrupting Pardon me for interrupting, but _____. Can I come in here? Sorry to interrupt, but ____________ . If I can just stop you for a moment .. Could I be excused? Getting a point into the discussion I have a suggestion / a point I‟d like to make. I‟d like to add something here. I have a question I‟d like to ask. May I add / ask / say something? Keep the discussion moving Noting digressions in the conversation That‟s beside the point / the question. That's not at issue. That‟s irrelevant. That‟s another story. That has nothing to do with what we‟re talking about. That‟s a different ball of wax / kettle of fish / can of worms. That‟s horse of a different color. You‟re getting of the subject. Keeping moving I think we‟d better go on to another point. I think we‟ve covered this point. Let‟s move on to something else. Let‟s go on to the next point. I think we‟ve spent enough time on this point. Why don‟t we go on to another issue? To bring up another point, __________________ . Are there any more comments before we go on to the next point? Business English 2nd Year FUNCTIONS Block 1 SMALL TALK Block 2 INTRODUCTIONS Block 3 OPINION (AGREEING, DISAGREEING) Block 4 ADVISING Block 5 GRATITUDE Block 6 SUGGESTING Block 7 REQUESTING Block 8 APOLOGIZING Block 9 SURPRISE Block 10 SUPPORTING & OPPOSING Block 11 CLARIFYING & PARAPHRASING Block 12 ALTERNATIVES & CONSEQUENCES Block 13 TELEPHONING Block 1 SMALL TALK Greetings Hi! How are you? Hello! How are you this bright morning? Hey! How‟s it been? Howdy! How‟s everything? (Good) morning. How have you been? (Good) afternoon. How is it going? (Good) evening. Telling how you have been Fine. Great. Okay. All right. Couldn‟t be better. Happy as a clam. (cliché) Can‟t complain. Keeping busy. I‟m snowed under. I don‟t have time to breathe. There aren‟t enough hours in the day. Not a moment to spare. Keeping out of trouble. Getting by. Could be worse. Same as always. Ending a conversation Oh, look at the time! It‟s so good to see you again. Let‟s keep in touch. Let‟s do lunch sometime. Let‟s go get coffee. Do you have any time? I‟m all out of time. I‟ll have to say good-bye now. Look at the time. I really must go. It‟s been great talking to you, but I have to go. Let‟s continue this another time. I really must go. Good-byes Take care. It was good / nice to see you. It is a pleasure to have met you. Good-bye. So long. See you then / later / soon / tomorrow. Block 2 INTRODUCTIONS Introducing someone I‟d like you to meet Mary. Jack, (this is) Mary. Mary, Jack. Mary, have you met Jack? Mary, do you know Jack? Mary, shake hands with Jack Jackson. Do you two know each other? Have you two been introduced? When you have just been introduced Good to meet you. How very nice to meet you. I‟m pleased to make your acquaintance. I‟m happy to meet you. A pleasure. Charmed. Nice meeting you. I‟ve been wanting to meet you for some time. Jack has told me so much about you. It‟s a pleasure to have finally met you Asking how someone is How are things with you? How‟s with you? How‟s business? How‟s everything? How goes it? Block 3 OPINION Giving an opinion In my opinion, _____________ . The way I see it, _______________ As far as I‟m concerned, ______________ . It‟s clear to me that _____________ As I see it, ________________ . It looks to me as if ______________ Personally, I think ________________ . Obviously, ____________________ It seems to me, ________________ . Asking about agreement Wouldn‟t you agree? Don‟t you think so? Does that make any sense? Am I making sense? Are you with me on this? Do we see eye to eye on this? Agreeing Yes, that‟s true. I couldn‟t agree more. Precisely. I definitely / completely agree with you. Exactly. You‟re perfectly right. Absolutely. That‟s a very good point. That‟s true, I suppose. You may be right there. Encouraging I think it‟s great. It‟s wonderful / fabulous / ideal! It‟s a masterpiece. This is the cream of the crop. That hits the spot / bill. I give it 4 stars. That‟s just what the doctor ordered. Disagreeing I don't really agree with you. I don‟t really think so. I‟m afraid, I can‟t agree with you. That‟s not how I see it. Well, you have a point here , but ________. I see what you mean, but ________ . There is something in what you‟re saying, but __. I‟m afraid, you‟re missing the boat. I‟m afraid, you‟re way off base. I disagree completely. Look me in the eye and say that! That‟s out of the question. That‟s insane / unthinkable / absurd / ridiculous. Hedging I take your point about __________, but ______________- . I understand what you‟re saying about ______________, but ____________ . I hear where what you‟re coming from on this, but we must remember that ________ . Block 4 ADVISING Advising (someone else to do sth) Perhaps you could ___________________ . Maybe you should ___________________ . You might ___________________ . Why don‟t you __________________ . Why not _________________ ? You‟d better (not) ________________ . Accepting advice Yes, that‟s a good idea. Yes, I‟ll do that. Okay, I‟ll try that. Refusing advice Well, the problem is ___________________ . is such a good idea. I‟m not sure that will work. will help. will be necessary. work I‟m afraid that might not help. be possible. I‟m afraid, I can‟t. I don‟t know how / if I can. Not in a million years. Not for a million dollars. When pigs fly.(idiomatic) Over my dead body. (idiomatic) You „re barking up the wrong tree. (idiomatic) Encouraging someone to be more sensible Get real! Snap out of it. Come back to earth. Block 5 GRATITUDE Saying “thank you” Thank you (very much / so much) Thank you for your help / for everything / for what you‟ve done. You have my thanks / my gratitude. I‟m deeply grateful. Thanks ever so much. I‟m indebted to you. I owe you big time. Sorry to be a bother. Returning thanks You‟re (most) welcome. You‟re entirely welcome. My pleasure. It was my pleasure. The pleasure was all mine. It was nothing. Don‟t mention it. No problem. . . . . . . . . . . Block 6 SUGGESTING Suggesting an action (including the speaker) Let‟s ______________________ . Perhaps, you could _________________ . We might _________________. Why don‟t we ________________ ? Why not ________________ ? What about _______________ ? How about _________________ ? I suggest ______________ . Accepting a suggestion Yes, that‟s good idea. Certainly. By all means. Yes, why don‟t we try that? Rejecting a suggestion Unfortunately, _________________. I‟m sorry, but __________________ . Well, the problem is __________________ . I‟m not sure that will be possible. Not in a million years. Not for a million dollars. When pigs fly.(idiomatic) Over my dead body. (idiomatic) . . . . . . . . . . . . . Block 7 REQUESTING Requesting Would you mind ______________ ? Could you please ________________ ? Do you think you could _______________ ? I wonder if you could possibly ______________ ? I‟d really appreciate it if you could __________________ . Agreeing to a request Yes, of course. Certainly. By all means. Refusing a request I‟m sorry, but ________________ . I‟m very sorry, but the problem is __________________ . Unfortunately, ______________________ . Giving reasons The reason is that ___________________ . This is because _________________ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Block 8 APOLOGIZING Apologizing I‟m terribly sorry. I apologize. My sincere apologies. Please accept my heartfelt apology. You cannot believe how sorry I am. Words cannot describe how sorry I am. Taking responsibility It‟s all my fault. I shouldn‟t have said /done it. I‟m fully responsible. I didn‟t mean to say / do that. I blame no one but myself. I didn‟t mean it, honestly. I‟m completely guilty. I didn‟t intend it that way. Promising never to repeat a particular mistake It won‟t happen again. I‟ll see to it that it never happens again. Offering to make amends How can I make it up to you? Is there anything I can do to make it up to you? I promise I‟ll make it up to you. Forgiving That‟s all right. I forgive you. Don‟t worry about it. Let‟s drop the subject. Think on it no more. Let‟s bury the hatchet. (idiomatic) Don‟t give it another thought. Let‟s bring this matter to a close. To err is human, to forgive divine. (cliché) Write it off. I‟ll let you off this time. I‟ll let it slide this time. I‟ll give you another chance. I won‟t hold it against you. . . Block 9 SURPRISE Asking in disbelief Truly? Really? No kidding? Are you serious? You‟re not making this up, are you? Are you pulling my leg? When someone says something outrageous Unbelievable! You‟re kidding. You‟ve got to be kidding me! Encouraging someone to believe you Honest. Take my word for it. Truly. You can count on it. That‟s the honest truth. Don‟t be such a doubting Thomas. I swear. You can take it to the bank.. That‟s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. . . . . . . . . . . .Block 10 SUPPORTING & OPPOSING IDEAS Supporting an idea or a suggestion a great I think __________________ is a good idea. an excellent I‟m for __________________ . I‟m in favor of ___________________ . I support _________________ . The advantage main plus of _________ is that ___________ . One benefit Opposing an idea or a suggestion not a good idea. I think _______________ is a waste of time. a waste of money. I‟m against _________________ . I‟m not in favor of _________________ . The disadvantage of main drawback of __________ is that ________ . One problem with . Block 11 CLARIFYING & PARAPHRASING IDEAS Getting further information Would you mind explaining that a little more, please? Could you tell us a bit more a bout it? Could you please explain it in a little more detail? in a greater detail? Could you be more specific? Asking for clarification What do you mean? Are you implying that ________ ? Do you mean __________________ . If I understand you correctly, ________ . I don‟t quite follow… If I follow you, _______________ . I‟m not sure what you mean. Are you suggesting that _________ ? Clarifying your own ideas I mean, ___________________ . In other words, ____________________ . To put it another way, __________________. That‟s to say, _________________ . What I mean is that ________________ . The point I‟m trying to make is ___________________ . Let me rephrase that. Let me make myself clear. Paraphrasing another person’s ideas I think he / she means __________________ . What he / she means is that ___________________ . In other words he / she means that ___________________ . I think his / her point is that ___________________ . Block 12 ALTERNATIVES & CONSEQUENCES Asking about alternatives What else can I do? can you think of? What other alternatives do you see? are there? Are there any other possibilities? Asking about consequences we implemented the program? What might happen if they adopted the affirmative action? a woman filled this executive job? Predicting consequences we implemented the program, we‟ll motivate the female employees. If they adopted affirmative action, the blacks would get a fair share of the opportunities available. a woman filled the post, she would be as good at it as a man. Expressing possibility Perhaps, __________________ . Maybe, _________________ . It‟s possible that ____________________. They are sure to _______________ . They might __________________ . Block 13 TELEPHONING Getting through Can you put me through extension 003, please? Can I have extension 003, please? Jack Jackson in Sales, please. One moment, please. Putting you through. I‟m sorry but there‟s no reply. I‟m afraid, the line is busy / engaged. Do you want to hold or would you like to call back later? I‟ll call back later. I‟ll hold. Messages It‟s Mary Johnson here. Mary Johnson speaking. Could I speak to Jack Jackson, please? Can I ask who is calling? Who‟s calling, please? Which company are you calling from? I‟m afraid Jackson isn‟t at his desk. I‟m afraid Jackson is on another line. I‟m afraid Jackson is with someone right now. I‟m afraid Jackson is not in the office. I‟m afraid Jackson is out of the office. I‟m afraid Jackson is off sick today. I‟m afraid Jackson is on holiday until September 11. I‟m afraid Jackson is in a meeting. 1) I wonder if you could call back later. – I‟ll call back. Can I ask what is it about? – I‟m calling to confirm that … Can I take a message? Would you like to leave a message? 2) Can I call back? I‟m calling to confirm that __________ Could you ask Jackson to call back? My number‟s _____ - I‟ll ask him to call you when he gets back. Could you tell Jackson that _________ ? Could I leave a message? Sorry, I didn‟t catch your name. Could you spell it? Did you say your number‟s 10 46 138711? Where did you say you‟re calling from? The code for Sweden is 46, right? at (@), slash (/), dot (.), dash (-), capital a (A), small a (a) Making arrangements Is this a convenient time to call? I‟m rather tied up at the moment. Could you call back later? Can we fix an appointment? Can we arrange a meeting? Would it be useful to meet up soon? I‟ll just check my diary / planner. How about Monday? Would Monday be suitable? Shall we say Monday? I can‟t make Monday. I‟ve got an appointment. That‟s fine. Monday would be fine. How about Monday? Can you make Monday? See you on Monday then. I‟ll look forward to see you on Monday. Changing arrangements I can‟t make Monday. We‟re going to change our arrangement for the Monday. I‟m afraid, Monday won‟t be possible. We‟re going to have to delay (put back) our meeting. Something has come up. I‟ve got to go over to Berlin to see a client. I‟m completely snowed under. How about Wednesday? Can you make Wednesday instead? Can we put it off(delay) till Wednesday? Can we leave it open? I‟ll get back in touch soon. Ending a phone conversation I really have to go now. There‟s someone on the other line. I must say good-bye now. Can I call you back? Something has come up. I have to get back to my work. I‟ll call again later. Can we continue this later? My other line is ringing. I have to get back to my work before the boss sees me. I won‟t keep you any longer. I‟ll let you go now. It‟s been good talking to you. Look forward o hearing from you soon. Thanks for calling / phoning. Bye. See you on Wednesday. Thanks for calling. Bye. Talk to you soon, no doubt. Bye. Nice talking to you. I‟ll be in touch soon. Bye.
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